Microneedling punctures your skin and undermines the protective barrier,
causing sudden changes in the structure of your skin that it then has to repair.
Lately, it seems that everyone is turning to microneedling, and who can blame them?
Just look online, and it is apparently the answer to all of your skin-related woes – and the hottest trend in beauty right now.
Scare-mongering is not what this article is about – nor my philosophy, but as with all things in life, there are risks associated with this treatment.
I have been inundated with emails from readers which you can read below, and many clients have been referred to me, who have been both physically and psychologically scarred as a result of this treatment, so I really wanted to address this treatment.
For those who are considering or have recently undergone needling treatment, the article derma rolling ingredients into your skin, discusses what you should be using on your skin pre, during, and post-treatment.
They Say: Microneedling is a collagen-stimulating treatment that uses needles to injure the skin; this stimulates collagen and elastin production, resulting in improved skin texture, pores, fine lines, and more.
Naked Chemist Truth: Microneedling tears through the epidermis – the top layer of the skin – creating tiny puncture marks which play havoc with your skin’s natural defence mechanisms, which have to work hard to repair these tiny micro-tears through collagen induction. This causes a whole host of skin conditions.
It does not tighten your skin; it swells your skin: You must understand the concept, ‘needling promotes skin collagen’. Because you’re temporarily injuring your skin, the tightening effect is plump, swollen skin.
It does not create a glowing complexion: That ‘lit-from-within’ glow is a result of the inflammation it triggers, and as I believe inflammation is at the source of premature ageing, it is a big no-no in my book.
This is a serious procedure.
At any depth, even a 0.2mm puncture can cause inflammatory responses that lead to problems. Not only that, but you are effectively injecting active serums at a depth where serums are not meant to go! Not everyone should needle, as you can cause irreparable harm.
Bottom line: If your skin is impaired, it requires a super-healthy skin response, and if your skin is stressed at all, you are almost certainly at risk of damage.
Clemmy from London wrote: “The microneedling felt like it shredded my skin beneath the surface, my once perfect skin is ruined and I feel like I could cry, it has lost all firmness and support. I know it has been structurally damaged. I’ve had such a bad reaction it flared up. It was awful. I looked grazed all over I didn’t want to leave the house for ages after 6 months it is only just recovering.”
Nancy from Australia wrote: “The next photo is the day of the microneedling, you can see my face is very swollen and I have scratch-like marks on my face, I was shaking during the procedure, I should have known something was wrong then. I was told to do a course of peels to get rid of the lines and this sent my skin into inflammation mode. Today my skin has tiny holes and lines in it. With your help, it has been slowly repairing, but it has been a long road.”
Quick side notes: For this reason, I recommend avoiding peels, lasers, or active topicals to try to reverse the damage done. Instead, work to rebuild the barrier and balance the delicate micro-flora with skin-identical ingredients that are missing, bringing the pH of your skin back into balance holistically, which equates to healthy skin.
Angela, a client, experienced the following: “I am 43 and had one session of microneedling. My face became inflamed and I have been battling severe facial burning ever since. My previously smooth skin is scarred all over with lines, huge pores, and a strange texture. I have been to a few dermatologists who have no idea what to do, it severely damaged my lipid barrier. Your advice and skincare are helping to rebuild my barrier I can’t thank you enough.”
Marian from the USA wrote: “Micro rolling seriously destroyed my skin. It left bumps and holes and requires total resurfacing, which I am scared to have. It has dried out my skin and given me lines I did not previously have, on top of the bumps and holes. In short, skin needling is UNSAFE.”
Jen from Australia wrote: “After having numerous tests (had to go back to the hospital a second time because they didn’t take enough blood the first time) the blood test results were normal so no autoimmune disorders which are good. I have had 25 pages of blood test results as my dermatologist was very thorough and he has figured out what the needling has done to my skin. He believes I have solid facial edema, very rare. I’m now on roaccutane & may need to be on it for 1-2 years, although my skin is responding this will be a very long battle to get rid of this. I’m completely shattered. I would NEVER recommend micro needling to anyone, in fact, I warn all my friends about it so they never suffer the way I am suffering. Your Bio lipid has been a lifesaver I refer to it as liquid gold.”
For those of you who commented, thank you for sharing, and I really hope together we can rebuild the health of your skin through a well-thought-out skincare and supplementation regime. Hopefully, this article will also help others who are contemplating this procedure.
If you are unfortunate enough to have suffered a serious reaction, let’s take a look at the problems that can go wrong and why. That way, you will be able to connect the dots about what you can do to repair your skin.
Do not treat your skin with microneedling if you have the following, ever
- keloid scarring
- cigarette smoker
- prior Roaccutane user
- signs of active infection
- sensitive or impaired skin
- eczema or dermatitis sufferers
- very dark or unstable skin type
- 1, 2, or 3 on the Fitzpatrick scale
- autoimmune problems of the skin, such as Lupus
- if you have had a topical treatment (such as peels or laser) in the last 12 weeks
In a nutshell, anything that will affect your skin’s natural healing ability.
You should absolutely not undergo this treatment on skin that has active inflamed acne, rosacea, or eczema, for further reading around this subject, the article skin needling, looks at the genuine side effects of causing trauma and wounds to your skin.
Microneedling disrupts the protective barrier and increases the penetration of active ingredients into your skin. I appreciate this may sound counter-intuitive because needling is all about better product penetration, but when active ingredients go deeper into the skin, the risk of irritation goes up.
Side effects, contraindications, and complications
Whilst there are many general side effects of derma rolling – including bleeding, slight bruising, redness, dryness, and skin flakiness – some may experience more severe side effects such as permanent scarring, indentations in the skin, or hyper and hypo-pigmentary changes in the skin. Quite, why some people have adverse reactions and others don’t, is still unknown.
Infection: It doesn’t always look the way you think, such as with swelling, pus, and redness. Some infections can appear a lot more subtle, where the skin stays irritated and doesn’t heal. What is happening here is that your body’s immune system is holding the offending bacteria, fungus, or virus in partial check, but isn’t strong enough to eliminate it – so inflammation bubbles away under the surface.
Allergic or irritant reactions: These can range from barely visible to extreme ongoing pain and itching. This is not normal; pain associated with this treatment should be temporary and last no longer than a day.
Redness and texture changes: These changes are common, as treatment plumps the skin, increasing blood flow and collagen, but should reduce in a few days.
Treatment for impaired skin
A big question I’m often asked is, will my skin ever return to normal?
You can heal your skin once it has been damaged by facial needling, but how long it takes depends on the amount of damage done. From experience in my own clinic, some people may heal in between 6 to 12 weeks in line with cellular turnover. Sadly, for others, it can take a couple of years – but with the correct treatment protocol and effective ingredients, it is achievable.
You require a three-pronged, holistic approach.
Employ a consistent skincare regime with gentle topicals that are barrier repairing – nothing too active, as that will inflame the skin further.
Use a high molecular weight hyaluronic acid such as H2O Hydrating Complex, to keep your skin’s tissues hydrated. As discussed above, this treatment protocol you can find in the article – derma rolling ingredients into your skin.
DNA contains copper peptides that help to rebuild fragile skin. Bio-lipid and Fortify are all specifically designed to rebuild the barrier function and replenish skin-identical ingredients that are missing as a result of harsh treatments.
Treatment for complications after microneedling
- keep copies of records and take before and after photos
- where the risk of infection may be present, ask for bacterial culture or swab to be done on your skin
- a small biopsy can be carried out for “tissue culture” to look for deeper or unusual bacteria or other organisms
- if there is any question of skin allergy, especially if a lot of chemicals were micro needled into your skin, an allergist may be able to help
- if you’re concerned about infectious disease, or difficult or unusual infections in your skin, consult a doctor
- if you have any hormonal or other issues affecting your healing, an endocrinologist may be able to help you
The bottom line. Be careful with how you treat your skin; you have a responsibility to take care of your primary organ that protects you every second of your life.
If all of this does sound alarming, but you still want to treat your skin with microneedling, below is my checklist on things you should consider before undergoing the treatment:
- know your skin type and where on the Fitzgerald scale it fits into
- do your research, and ensure your practitioner has many years of experience and understands micro-needling treatment at a technical level
- do consider the type of machine used – to date we see fewer complaints from those who have been treated with a derma pen
- do listen to your skin! We are all metabolically different. If you feel your skin is compromised, don’t embark on any invasive treatment, not just facial needling
- ensure you get a thorough consultation, and that your practitioner discusses the post-treatment protocol with you
- do make sure you take close-up photos of your skin beforehand; if the practitioner involved decides to try and deny responsibility, you will have proof
- do be consistent with treatments and use quality products, to repair and protect your skin – remember less is best
- don’t use a combination of treatments coupled with an energy-based device, as there is also the risk of burns to consider
- your practitioner must be really well trained on their device, we have seen clients over the years who’ve sustained iatrogenic injuries, which have resulted in scarring after devices have been dragged across the skin